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6 May, 2010 07:09

Russian vegetables go organic

Affordable organic food is still little seen on Russian retail shelves, but rising import costs and growing demand, has domestic organic producers looking for a bigger seat at Russian tables.

Russia's market in organic products is small and expensive. All organic products are imported from abroad where the organic movement has a long history. Nikolay Vlasenko, Co-owner of Victoria Retail Group, worries that regulations could be skipped in an attempt to produce locally.

“The share of the population that is ready to pay for ecologically clean products is very small. In Europe its 10-15% and in Russia it's hard to follow norms and there will always be temptation to accelerate growth with supplements.”

Konstantin Vasilchishin, CEO of Organic Corporation, says to make organic affordable to a wider range of consumers products should be grown within 100 miles. The full cycle from organic seeds and especially prepared ground straight to the shop shelves would allow retailers to substitute imports and halve prices, says,

“Moscow's eco market accounts for $80-100 million and according to our estimates it can grow five fold in as many years. We have two stores and plan to open a chain for our own productions; we are launching a milk farm which that will allow us to make organic more affordable.”

The crisis has forced consumers to cut their spending but new trends for healthier living could make Russian exciting markets for retailers and food producers.